Spring Yard Clean up – Lawns and gardens need spring cleaning in the same way that your house does after being closed up for the whole winter. Spring cleaning can help to prepare your yard for the next growing season. An effective spring yard cleaning checklist can be broken down into six areas that are essential for getting your yard ready for planting while also saving you time and money in the long run.
- Debris removal from your lawn and planting beds, whether natural or artificial.
- Getting the flower beds ready.
- Pest and weed control throughout the planting process.
- Shrubs are being pruned.
- Mulch removal and perennial division are two of the issues being addressed.
Yard Clean up by Taking Out the Garbage
In this first category of spring yard clean up chores, you will be cleaning up after Old Man Winter and any dirty neighbors you may have to put up with. Start by rolling up your sleeves and removing the following items:
- Litter and dog excrement are problems.
- Lawns with dead grass, leaves, pinecones, and other detritus
- Perennials with dead leaves and stems are a problem.
Wearing sturdy work gloves is recommended for this activity, particularly if you are dealing with trash that may include shattered glass. Deal with the unappealing chore of disposing of dog poo. Consider studying dog repellents to see if you can prevent other people’s dogs from defecating on your property by adopting preventative measures. Dog and cat excrement should not be composted since they contain diseases.
Then there’s grass maintenance. In the autumn, if you raked the leaves carefully, you’ve probably prevented the fungal ailment known as snow mold from forming. However, there will surely be some stray leaves to rake, and raking helps to minimize the buildup of thatch on lawns, which is beneficial. While you’re raking the yard, be sure to pick up any pinecones or branches that have fallen. Pinecones are difficult to decompose in a compost container unless they have been shredded first.
Cleaning up the perennial bed in the spring starts with removing any dead leaves and stems from perennials and decorative grasses that were not removed during the autumn cleaning. Scissors are generally more effective than pruners for this purpose since they can get into small areas.
The Preparation of Planting Beds and the Application of Fertilizer
To nourish your plants and make the soil more friable in established perennial beds that did well last season, put in some more compost around the plants to improve their performance. Remove weed plants when you come across them, as well as any dead growth that did not get removed over the autumn.
The majority of your plants, including the grass on your lawn and the trees and shrubs in your yard, will benefit from a spring feeding of compost. Using compost as a fertilizer has the advantage of not causing plant burns, which is a major concern when using other fertilizers. Compost is nature’s slow-release fertilizer, and it is beneficial to both plants and animals.
You should always follow the application instructions for chemical fertilizers if you must use them in order to avoid burning the plants. The only form of chemical fertilizer that is practical for the lawn is a “weed and feed” variety that incorporates a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent crabgrass from growing in the first place.
- You may create completely new planting beds by removing existing ones.
- Breaking up fresh ground with a tiller is a good idea.
- Killing grass using a smothering technique or soil solarization may be used to turn a lawn into a planting bed for vegetables.
- Raised beds should be constructed.
- Create berms for your landscape.
Weeds will make their way into your planting bed very fast if you’ve recently created a fresh planting bed by breaking new ground. You may want to think about placing a layer of landscaping fabric over the ground and covering it with a layer of mulch to protect the cloth from damaging UV radiation. If you don’t want to use landscaping fabric in your vegetable planting beds, you may use a mulching material such as straw. However, when used in a shrub planting bed, these weed barriers may be an excellent ally in your quest for a low-maintenance yard.
Controlling Pests and Weeds
In certain cases, fighting weeds before they appear is more effective than waiting until their ugly heads have appeared. Landscape fabric and mulch are both effective in garden beds, but they are not suitable for use on a lawn. Crabgrass management is a common use for pre-emergent herbicides, which are highly effective.
Crabgrass should be treated with a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring, and timing is critical. Crabgrass seed germinates when the soil temperature hits 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Prior to this period, you must apply the preemergent herbicide to the lawn.
Pests are another issue that may be best managed by adopting preventative steps rather than reactive actions. Gardeners are often called upon to keep rabbits out of their gardens. Deer fence is an option in deer-infested areas, but it is preferable to just choose deer-resistant plants unless confining your plant choices in this manner offends your sense of gardening freedom.
Ticks are another pest that should be of worry, but this time to you rather than to plants. Late spring is a good time to spray for deer ticks to lower your chances of getting bitten.
Flower Beds and Lawns are being Planted
Early spring is an excellent time to plant trees and shrubs, as well as perennial flower borders, as long as the plants are hardy perennials that will survive the winter. To plant annuals and fragile perennials, wait until the latest frost date in your area has passed before planting.
If you live in the northern United States, you may start new lawns in the spring or overseed an existing lawn in the fall. However, if you want to use a preemergent herbicide in the spring to reduce crabgrass in an established lawn, it is preferable to overseed the lawn in the autumn rather than the spring.
Pruning Shrubs: A time-consuming Task
Once winter has passed, it is time to remove any shrub shelters that have been covering your shrubs and assess their trimming requirements. Take care of old, dead wood or wood that has been recently damaged by winterkill, as well as the appearance of the wood.
Dead limbs and winterkill on branches should be removed as soon as possible. This is the most straightforward component of pruning; remember that you can’t go wrong by removing stuff that is already dead. Determining where the brown stops and the green starts is the key to success.
A separate topic is when is the optimum time to clip healthy wood off of shrubs, since you may make a mistake if you choose the incorrect period. While dead branches should always be removed, the requirement of trimming off living branches is typically decided by one’s sense of beauty in order to give them a more pleasant form, rather than the other way around.
Because inappropriate pruning will result in the loss of the blooming displays on flowering shrubs, especially in the spring, the optimum time to trim flowering shrubs is precisely the period that causes anxiety in gardeners every spring. To put it another way, think of it this way:
Shrubs that bloom in the spring must have their buds already established on the previous year’s growth in order to be ready to bloom when the warm weather arrives. If you clip these branches back, you will lose the blooms that were on them. Wait till after the flowers have completed blossoming before pruning such plants. Forsythia is one such example. Plants that bloom later in the year include Korean spice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii) and lilacs (Syringa vulgaris).
Shrubs that flower later in the year bloom on new growth generated during the current season. If you want to trim such shrubs in the late winter or early spring, you may do it without worrying about removing blossoms from the bushes. Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii), Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), Lavender (Lavandula), Bluebeard (Caryopteris), and Beautyberry are just a few examples (Callicarpa).
Mulch Removal and Perennial Division: Two Most Important Tasks
Continue to monitor the reemergence of the perennials to decide when it is appropriate to remove the mulch to allow the perennials to emerge freely. For this mulch, it is not possible to specify a specific date for removal; instead, you must use your best judgment based on your location.
In the event that you’ve placed a thick layer of mulch around your perennials, it will ultimately need to be scraped away or it may suffocate the plants. When perennials start forcing their way up through the mulch, remove it while it is still warm outside, then restore it when the winter weather arrives, or until the cold weather stops arriving completely. When the warmer weather returns for real, put down new mulch to keep weeds under control and water use down during the summer months.
Finally, certain perennials might benefit from being split from time to time. Many perennials may be split in the spring, but if you have any doubts, contact your local extension department.